Rosenergoatom, the direct project customer and investor, negotiated several contracts with Sevmash including construction and supply of one non-self-propelled rack-mountable vessel, a floating small-capacity nuclear heat and power plant based on a floating platform with two reactors and a general contract for construction and assembling operations for coast hydraulic structures and communications. Sevmash is expected to receive around 20% of the total contract cost of about Rb9.1 billion ($337 million) and, according to Rosenergoatom, the payback period is 11 years.

Manufacturing and supply of two KLT-40S reactors will be carried out by OKBM for around 27% of the total investment, while the two steam-turbines will come from OJSC of Kaluga, for an estimated 11% of the total.

The station, which is expected to operational by 2010, is seen by Rosenergoatom as a pioneering project which will serve as a model for building similar stations in Russia and abroad, particularly in Asia and Middle East where demand for desalination plants is seen as a key market.

Sergey Obozov, the acting general director of Rosenergoatom responded to critics suggesting the station will be a “floating Chernobyl” with the comment: ““The reliability of [the] offshore nuclear power plant will be the same with the Kalashnikov gun.”

Obozov added: “These plants could be useful in exploration of northern territories particularly new stores of mineral resources, development of Northern sea route (the energy for port infrastructure), supplying of Navy bases of Northern and Pacific ocean Navies. All in all we have 11 regions of Russia (mostly far North and East) where these NPP can be used.”

The announcement followed comments from President Putin that the nuclear industry should assume a greater role in meeting Russia’s energy needs saying: “The percentage of nuclear fuel in the country’s energy balance is 16% and if we do nothing in this area, but just keep on moving at today’s pace, it will drop to 1-2% by 2030.” He has previously called for the government to draft a programme that will increase the proportion of nuclear capacity to 25%.

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